Group Leader/s




The research in our laboratory aims at understanding how the elements of the bacterial division machinery - the divisome - work together as an integrated system to fulfill its essential function. To address these questions we develop and applied novel biochemical reconstitution approaches to assemble the minimal set of proteins needed to initiate division (the proto-ring complex) in systems that reproduce the spatio-temporal organization of the divisome at the cellular membrane and the crowded/confined intracellular space. This integrative strategy, combining quantitative and synthetic approaches, will help to complete our knowledge on how bacterial division works and will open new horizons to pharmacological applications.

ONGOING RESEARCH (see details in corresponding pages at Research Projects):

1. Biochemical reconstruction of minimal bacterial divisomes in the test tube

2. Macromolecular reactivity and organization in crowded and confined cell-like environments

3. Macromolecular interactions in solution and membranes: Physical biochemistry approaches


Monterroso B, Zorrilla S, Sobrinos-Sanguino M, Robles-Ramos MA, López-Álvarez M, Margolin W, Keating CD, Rivas G.  [2019]. Bacterial FtsZ protein forms phase-separated condensates with its nucleoid-associated inhibitor SlmA. EMBO Rep. 20(1). pii: e45946. doi: 10.15252/embr.201845946.

Sobrinos-Sanguino M, Krupka M, Jiménez M, Rivas G, Margolin W.  [2018]. Escherichia coli ZipA Organizes FtsZ Polymers into Dynamic Ring-Like Protofilament Structures. MBio. 9(3). pii: e01008-18. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01008-18.

Sobrinos-Sanguino M, Zorrilla S, Monterroso B, Minton AP, Rivas G.  [2017]. Nucleotide and receptor density modulate binding of bacterial division FtsZ protein to ZipA containing lipid-coated microbeads. Sci Rep. 7(1):13707. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-14160-y.

Rivas G, Minton AP.  [2016]. Macromolecular Crowding In Vitro, In Vivo, and In Between. Trends Biochem Sci. 41:970-981.

Monterroso B, Zorrilla S, Sobrinos-Sanguino M, Keating CD, Rivas G.  [2016]. Microenvironments created by liquid-liquid phase transition control the dynamic distribution of bacterial division FtsZ protein. Sci Rep. 6:35140.

Rivas G, Vogel SK, Schwille P.  [2014]. Reconstitution of cytoskeletal protein assemblies for large-scale membrane transformation. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 22:18-26.

Monterroso B, Alfonso C, Zorrilla S, Rivas G  [2013]. Combined analytical ultracentrifugation, light scattering, and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy studies on the associations and assembly of the Escherichia coli cell division FtsZ protein. Methods (doi:pii: S1046-2023(12)00328-3. 10.1016/j.ymeth.2012

Martos A, Jiménez M, Rivas G*, Schwille P*  [2012]. Towards a bottom-up reconstitution of bacterial cell division. Trends Cell Biol. 22:634-643

Hernández-Rocamora VM, Reija B, García-Montañés C, Natale P, Alfonso C, Minton AP, Zorrilla S, Rivas G*, Vicente M*  [2012]. Dynamic interaction of the Escherichia coli cell division ZipA and FtsZ proteins evidenced in nanodiscs. J. Biol. Chem. 287:30097-30104




- 2017-2019: BIOROOMS - Analysis, synthesis and reassembly of the biorooms active in bacterial division. Spanish Government Plan Nacional I+D+i, BFU2016-75471-C2-1-P.  

- 2015-2019: MASSTRPLAN - "MASS Spectrometry TRaining network for Protein Lipid adduct Analysis" EU Project 675132 (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015). Innovative Training Network.

- 2015-2016: ODIVITUBE - Biochemical organization of minimal divisomes in the test tube. Spanish Government, Plan Nacional I+D+i, BFU2014-28941-C03-02.

- 2012-2014: SYNVISION - Synthetic biology of bacterial cell division: reconstruction of minimal divisomes in biomimetic membrane systems. Spanish Government, Plan Nacional I+D+i, BIO2011-28941-C03-03.

- 2011-2014: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY OF BACTERIAL CELL DIVISION. Human Frontier Science Program RGP0050-2010.

- 2009-2013: DIVINOCELL - Exploiting Gram-negative cell division targets in the test tube to obtain anti-microbial compounds. European Commission, FP7-HEALTH-F3-2009-223431.


More info


Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas - CSIC

Ramiro de Maeztu 9 - E28040 Madrid

Tel. +34 918373112 ext. 4304


GRLAB web: Bioquímica de sistemas de la división bacteriana


GR-CV: Quantitative and mechanistic biochemistry; protein biophysics; synthetic biology; protein-protein interactions; protein-membrane interactions; analytical ultracentrifugation; light scattering; optical biosensing. PhD Chemistry, Universidad Autónoma Madrid (1989). Postdoctoral: NIH, Bethesda, USA (1990-1992) and Biozentrum, Univ. Basel, CH (1993). CSIC tenure-track scientist at (1994). CSIC staff scientist (1995). Group leader at CIB (1996). CSIC senior investigator (2006).

GRLAB: Quantitative biochemistry; physical biochemistry; biophysics; protein-protein interactions; protein-membrane interactions; macromolecular assembly; bacterial cell division; synthetic biology; biophysical methods (analytical ultracentrifugation, light scattering, fluorescence spectroscopy, optical biosensing)


- Introduction in Spain of advanced methods of analytical ultracentrifigation (1994) and static light scattering (2006, 2009) to measure macromolecular interactions in solution.

- Development of equilibrium sedimentation methods to study the behavior of proteins in highly crowded solutions that reproduce biological environments (1999, 2004, 2010).

- Description of the effect of macromolecular crowding on the oligomerization and assembly of the essential cell division FtsZ protein from E. coli (2001, 2003).

- Sedimentation velocity (2005) and static light scattering (2012) analysis of FtsZ polymers in the presence of GTP.

- Analytical ultracentifugation and static light scattering analysis of the associations between GDP-FtsZ oligomers and ZipA in solution (2010).

- Reconstitution of bacterial division proto-ring elements in phospholipid bilayer nanodiscs (2012), coated beads (2012), giant vesicles (2011,2013) and confined droplets (2013).